The winding road of therapy.

As I was looking through my posts of last October I saw that it was then when I decided to write my experiences with therapy down. I did that for quite a while and I’ll link the other parts of my journey below. I stopped writing because the therapy discontinued due to Corona at the beginning of March. I was offered to do online counseling but I declined at that point.

Let’s start from the beginning.

To catch you up on the current situation, I have two therapists and one psychiatrist. At the job placement center, which is responsible for giving the green light for my benefits, I also have a case manager. So as you see, I have mobilized a few people. Not that that was ever my intention.

The first therapist.

When I was about 32 I started therapy due to my choice. I wanted to be a better health worker and to get to know my own blind spots. I had the dream of having children and I thought it was utterly necessary to digest my own past and to prevent to pass it on in the raw form. My therapist is an older man and after 8 years he knows me – and more important –  my whole story very well. He’s trained in the psychoanalytic tradition (more specific the branch that follows Jung) and I do trust him. He knows what to say, when to say it. He never ever gave me ‘free advice’. With that I mean, he doesn’t propose to do this or that specifically. What I tell in the sessions stays really close to my thoughts and feelings. It feels good, sometimes very painful and raw but true to my heart. There are no exercises to do nor as mentioned already, no advice to follow. One time he wondered out loud, if it could be that I was already strong enough to face my mother … that possibility was discussed but that was it. He mostly guides me and points me to a coherent story of my confused mind. He ‘contains’ the bad feelings and the good ones. He tells me when I’m making progress and reassures me when ‘I feel down the hole’ that I’m smart enough to know what is happening but that I don’t always want to know. He says things like that. The thing is that, after eight years of weekly appointments of 40’, minus the occasional holidays, he was my travel companion on my journey of life. Some sort of father figure, with excellent listening skills. He will stop his practice at the end of 2020.

And another was added to the mix.

When faced with depression I ended up meeting my psychiatrist in the spring of 2019. He referred me to another therapist, someone who works more with feelings in action rather than talk therapy. Oh yes, I almost forgot one terrible therapist, that story you can read here. Back to the drama-therapy as it is called. I started with this therapist last September and I see her once a month. The sessions are longer, over one hour, and are meant to be more practical, meant to ‘take me out of my head and into my body’ if that makes sense. All went well, we worked with my Inner Child and I learned how to prioritize myself before all the things that ‘need to be done’. Due to Corona, the sessions did stop. Online counseling was offered, what I declined at the beginning but decided to try when months went on. I noticed some changes with this therapist in the online sessions. She started to give me some advice. When I told her that mornings are difficult for me because my mind tells be that being dead would be the better option, she told me to ask myself ‘what I needed in that moment’. My guess would be some rest. But ok, the next thing was that I need to take my dog out for a walk every day and that I struggle with that. She said,  ‘the longer you wait, the bigger the fear’. ‘That is true’, I admitted, ‘but there is the problem of getting dressed’. I don’t sit in pajamas all day but I wear my ‘depression fashion’, meaning leggings and a long sweater. As I don’t feel that good in it, I don’t go out in it. So before walking the dog, I need to do other things and in my mind  – at that point in time – it was just a lot to do.

Depression fashion

Fast forward a few months.

Finally I saw my female therapist in person again. Although she helped me with a lot of things; I now have the task to ‘be in charge of my own life’. My mindset isn’t following that advice (yet). Why? Because I’m used to not being in charge and I’m more used to be a ‘good and nice. How does one change a mindset? I mean, she says I need to practice. I can and I will do that. To start with the dog, I need to be in charge of Churro. Reality is that I can be scared when he starts to fight other dogs. I don’t like fighting. But still, I need to be the bigger one and jump in front of them and the dogs will need to listen to me. Ok, I can try. The other thing was that I needed to get moving. As I do work out with my app, it sometimes can feel like a chore. She said to find a community where I live and to join some dance classes or yoga or what I would like to do. Because moving needs to be ingrained in daily life and it needs to be fun.

My questions.

I see where she’s coming from but I’m not used to therapists giving their views or advice that freely. Am I just not used to it because my other therapist refrains from it or is it something therapists aren’t supposed to do? What is the difference with a life-coach? Can you, dear reader, shed your light on my question? Or is it even a silly question, showing that I’m holding on to my defense mechanisms? Every angle is welcome because I would like to differentiate my opinion on that matter. Thank you in advance.


Other parts of ‘The winding road of therapy’ you can find here.

11 thoughts on “The winding road of therapy.

  1. Okay, all of this comes with the caveat that I have just 2 brain cells (and one of them is faulty).

    I can understand the guy. He has an idea about what is good for you but would like to lead you there so that you decide that for yourself. I think that is very skilled. To present things in such a way, that you come to the correct conclusion, yourself.

    The woman sounds more direct. She seems less skilled at talking, although her ideas sound good. I think the trick is to make your day busy again (not just you but anybody recovering from something. You know how it takes us all day to accomplish 2 or 3 things, where before, we accomplished them all in 10 minutes?)

    If getting dressed is a problem, force yourself to do so every day, even if you do not go out. Or shower. Or both. Just to prove to yourself that you can. And then, when you do, you can come on here and we will remind you of when it was a problem 🤣

    Remember, 2 cells!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The best therapists I had were ones that put the crumbs down, but left them for me to pick up. Better stated, they always asked the kinds of questions that steered me to the “ah ha” moments, without actually advising me. This was quite the post and I can appreciate the hard work you obviously put into it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s a tricky one. I think I would feel more comfortable with that shift towards action and advice if you felt that she had helped you build a framework for the change first. What we need from therapists shifts as we develop personally, and the best therapists will be able to tell what approach is needed when. To go back to the responsibility for a pet example, sometimes the challenge of caring for another being can bring us out of old patterns into new ones. However, sometimes that responsibility is a stress added to an already too heavy load and we need support from others to positively integrate it into the whole.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your heartfelt and wise answer. I do miss a bit of a framework in therapy especially when the processes is being interrupted so many times due to covid. We’re up for round two here and I don’t know if I can see a psychiatrist or therapist. How are you doing in your country covid- wise? Are you also preparing for round two?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think round two is already starting here. I haven’t felt many effects directly, though a couple people I know have gotten tested. The results were negative, but it was still scary. And as far as the country’s response…It’s a mess. No one seems to agree on anything, although I haven’t heard as much about people protesting masks. I’m just doing what I can to keep myself and my loved ones safe while I watch the shifting tides.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Your first therapist sounds fabulous!!! A very good match for you. She seemed to be exactly what you needed at that time in your life.
    My experience is that psychiatrists are not generally trained in the person-centred approach (where the client sets the agenda and chooses her own goals to work on). They do tend to give advice. This may work for some people but it would be counterproductive for me too.
    A good counsellor or therapist will help you decide on your own goals (and they will also explore the reasons why those goals are important to you). They won’t give advice or choose your goals for you. They will help you look at underlying reasons for not moving towards these goals – where appropriate – but you should never feel you are being directed or led by the therapist.
    Life coaches are more goal-focused and look less at how past issues are affecting your ability to work towards the goals you have set for yourself. (Their focus is the present and the future). They will help you break your goals down into very small specific steps and more directly encourage you to work out an achievable schedule for working through those steps.
    These can be revised and changed if the goals are not/ cannot be met.
    I hope this helps 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your elaborate answer! For me it does feel weird when I feel being directed because something in me wants to rebel immediately.
      My first therapist is a very very good fit and I’m very happy to have him. Unfortunately he’s going to stop his practice at the end of 2020. I hope to see him a few times before that if Covid permits.

      Liked by 1 person

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